Kickstarter, or, Every Publisher’s New Greenlight Process

There’s a hot new Kickstarter game making its way around games media.  Bloodstained is the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a beloved game from the first PlayStation era.  On the surface this looks like an increasingly familiar Kickstarter success story.  You take a popular game from nearly 20 years ago, have its designer get on camera and tell you they could finally make the sequel of your dreams if they could just, like, get rid of The Man, man, and show some artist’s renditions of a video game (dripping in concept art disclaimers.)

What an exciting recipe!  It’s empowering.  It’s how we want games to be made.  It’s a triumph of games as art made by artists.  It’s an underdog story.

Or is it? Continue reading

Search Isn’t Solved

Sometimes you’ll hear people say that Search is a solved problem.  It turns out that’s not really true.  What we’ve solved is a specific subset of Search where the person doing the searching already knows what it is they’re looking for.

You can go to Google and search for “James Brown” or you can go to Amazon and search for “metal grabber utensil” and the search results are going to be the very things you seek.  It doesn’t matter how vague metal grabber utensil is, the second search result is for cooking tongs.  That search is solved.

metal_grabber_utensil

There’s a whole other class of search problems, though, and computers are terrible at them.  Continue reading

The Danger of Game Options

There’s a game night at the Folsom St Foundry every Tuesday in San Francisco. Organizers fill the block-sized event space with board games strewn across a dozen tables and hook up over twenty consoles running popular multiplayer games. In such a competitive mecca, could you conceive a scenario where two game experts are not able to play each other fairly?

I can, and it’s due to the danger of game options.
Continue reading